by Fiona Persaud
October 26th, 2009
A bomb scare caused Standard Auto Wreckers on Sewells Road in Scarborough to close down for almost two hours on Thursday.
The company notified the police early in the afternoon after seeing a mysterious device behind the seat of a pickup truck. Police were immediately called to the scene where they locked off the surrounding area. About 100 employees and an additional 100 customers were evacuated from the site for precaution.
After inspection it was determined that the object was not a bomb but an electrical device.
“It looked very serious when I saw it that’s why I shut the area down. It was very suspicious,” said Ken Gold, co-owner of the automotive recycling company.
Standard Auto Wreckers, which started in the 1960s, is an automotive wrecking yard where used and old cars are sent to be drained of contaminants, sold for parts and recycled. A towing company brought the 1993 Nissan pickup truck to the yard about two weeks prior. The identity of the original owner of the truck is unknown.
According to Gold the device “looked like cylinders about 15 inches long with wires coming out of it and going through the floor of the car.”
Const. Paul Whitley, an officer on the scene, explained that the bomb squad was called to be safe. The area from Old Finch Avenue to Steeles Avenue was closed for investigation. Police said Gold did the right thing.
“They were very thankful for the decision that I made. They said that’s the right decision, which naturally it is. God forbid something would have happened, I’d never sleep again,” Gold said.
Although no officials would comment on what the device was actually used for, according to Gold, the inside of the device contained “powder and a 12 inch zinc bar.”
Gold became aware of the strange looking object around noon after a customer spotted the device and pointed it out to him. He immediately isolated the vehicle by having the car taken to the opposite end of the yard and then called the police. The police arrived around 1 p.m. Police were pleased to report that the strange device was harmless.
“It was a very costly decision, maybe next time I’ll wait until 4:30 p.m.,” said Gold jokingly.
Robin Russell, a security guard for Standard Auto Wreckers explained that he came back from lunch and was told to leave the area and return in about two hours.
“They said that there was a suspicious package in the vehicle. I was just hoping they would send me home,” Russell said.
This scenario is familiar to some Scarborough residents who just over a month ago were faced with a similar situation that lead to the lock down of the city’s north end on Markham Road. The roadblocks and massive evacuation during rush-hour traffic were due to a vehicle that had been designed to run on alternative fuel.
“The good thing is that it happened here. If it had happened on Markham Road again they would have had the same situation that they had about a month ago,” said Gold referring to the havoc and confusion caused by that incident.
The pickup now rests in the back of the junkyard. It contents have been removed by police.
“I’m just thinking of safety first, that’s what you have to do.” Gold said.